The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree…Whether in the Livingroom, the Boardroom or the Classroom! -Part 1

apple falls far from tree“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” is an often referenced proverb, an expression that has withstood the test of time because of its wisdom and pithy focus.  Its applicability is broad and extends far beyond the obvious.  How many times have you noticed a child’s behavior or response echoing those of the parents?  Often expressions coming from the mouths of babes present as comical or paradoxical; they generally reflect the dominant values, sentiments and priorities of the parents.

While conducting a graduate level student teaching seminar, I was given a most vivid example of this dynamic.  One of my graduate students indicated that as a child she was prone to headaches, which her mother dismissed as impossible.  She heard with regularity that “Four-year-olds don’t get headaches.”  Many years later this educator in her mid-thirties she spoke of the distress she experienced as a child. While there was no doubt that her headaches were quite real to her, she felt very alone in her pain.  As a youngster she promised herself never to repeat this pattern.

Ironically, years later as an accomplished professional, when her own child ran into their home complaining of a headache, she reported “…and out of my mouth jumped my Mother!  I said, ‘Johnny, what’s the matter with you?  Four-year-olds don’t get headaches!’  When I realized what I had said I got down on my knees, kissed his forehead and said ‘I’m so sorry; let Mommy kiss it away.’  After all these years and absolute determination, I uttered what many years before seemed unimaginable to me!”

“Children Learn What They Live” is also referred to as “The Parent’s Creed.”  This verse ever so simply communicates the profound message of the above proverb:


If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.

If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.

If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.

If a child lives with encouragement, he learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.

If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.

If a child lives with security he learns to have faith.

If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.

If a child lives with acceptance and friendship he learns to find love in the world.

Dorothy Law Nolte


Are you worried about your child’s attitudes and patterns of behavior?  Are you uncertain how to address these concerns going forward? Have you questioned your contribution to this either by omission or commission? Despite your own best efforts are you seeing indications of the very dynamics you have been striving to avoid?

If you have answered “Yes” to any of these questions, call Dr. Maryann Schaefer at (516)627-1145 to schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss these and other concerns you may have regarding your child, your family or your marriage.